www.amazon.com has attracted widespread criticism by both current and former employees, as well as the media and politicians for poor working conditions. In 2011 it was publicized that at the Breinigsville, Pennsylvania warehouse, workers had to carry out work in 100 °F (38 °C) heat, resulting in employees becoming extremely uncomfortable and suffering from dehydration and collapse. Loading-bay doors were not opened to allow in fresh air as “managers were worried about theft”. Amazon’s initial response was to pay for an ambulance to sit outside on call to cart away overheated employees.
Some workers, “pickers”, who travel the building with a trolley and a handheld scanner “picking” customer orders can walk up to 15 miles a day back and forward, and if they fall behind on their targets, they can be reprimanded. The handheld scanners feed back to the employee real time information on how fast or slowly they are going, and also serve to allow Team Leads and Area Managers to track the specific locations of employees and how much “idle time” they gain when not working. In a German television report broadcast in February 2013, journalists Diana Löbl and Peter Onneken conducted a covert investigation at the distribution center of Amazon in the town of Bad Hersfeld in the German state of Hesse. The report highlights the behavior of some of the security guards, themselves being employed by a third party company, who apparently either had a Neo-nazi background or deliberately dressed in Neo-Nazi apparel, and who were intimidating foreign and temporary female workers at its distribution centres. The third party security company involved was delisted by Amazon as a business contact shortly after that report